Task – Journey to School

The first task of this module was to create an image or images that represented our journey to school (or in our case, university). As explored in the workshop there are many elements of an image that allow it to tell the story, and certain choices about the way we present images can shape the way the story is interpreted. For example when you crop an image, you can be removing an essential element that the original photographer chose to include, without which the story can greatly change. In addition to this, the subjectivity of the photographer and the purpose of the image can lead to certain choices about what content is photographed and how it is photographed, which can also shape the interpretation from the viewer. For example, a model showing off clothes from a new collection is unlikely to be photographed in a manner that looks unflattering, as the purpose of the image is to show that the clothes look good, therefore the viewer should want to buy them to look good too.

My journey to university isn’t incredibly interesting, as I commute from university a lot of the time is dedicated to driving and the M1 isn’t particularly inspiring. In addition to this, I don’t feel a real sense of progress or movement when I am driving, which is interesting considering I can only cover the most distance in the fastest way, when I am behind the wheel. The moment I feel I am travelling the most is when I am walking, I like feeling the pavement below my feet and being able to take some time and see the scenery. Recently I have become really obsessed with how many steps I do per day, as I have an app on my smartphone which attempts to interpret my movement when I walk in order to count how many steps I do. I have given myself a daily step target, therefore at the moment when I am walking, the sole meaning behind this travel is my step count. I wanted to represent this slight obsession in my images, documenting my journey on foot as opposed to the period of time I spend driving in the car. I also wanted to focus on my feet and the ground, to emphasise that it is the steps which are the most important part. However taking pictures of your feet is very much considered a cliche, and I wanted to avoid resemblance between my images and that seen on Instagram where people document where they are and prove they are there by featuring their feet.

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I needed to express this idea of the journey and the movement in my images in order to make them appear to be more complicated than the average Instagram foot selfie. I decided that in order to avoid taking the average image, then I needed to use different methods of photography. With this in mind I tried experimenting with the different camera modes available on my phone, I also chose to use my phone because of the portability and the standard lens available which wouldn’t distort my body too much if it was featured in the picture. I came across the panorama mode and was inspired to try and take walking panoramas, where I held the phone so it was looking down at my feet and tracking my movement on the pavement. The phone would then piece together the snippets of my journey into one rolling panorama. I looked at the results of the images and really liked them, although they don’t look very pretty or very professional, I think you definitely get the idea of a journey from them. I also think that this method of the walking panorama has allowed me to avoid producing images that are easily referenced to Instagram cliches.

Moving forward from this task I think I would try and introduce an element of video into the idea, perhaps producing a video which features these walking panoramas but from the bottom up, which is the way they are viewed the best. When you view them from top to bottom like a conventional image then it contradicts the flow of the image as flowing and striding forward.

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